This novel purports to be the diary of Hester Christie, a young army wife who must juggle her responsibilities to her family, to the regiment, and to the society in which she lives. Lively and popular, Hester has many demands on her time, including mandatory socializing with several disagreeable officers’ wives. But her perpetually busy life becomes even more chaotic when her husband, Tim, is transferred to a regiment in Scotland. Hester is sorry to leave but tries to make the best of it, although it means she will be lonely and friendless while Tim is busy with army duties. However, she soon makes a few friends and is even invited to spend time in the country with one of them. In these beautiful surroundings, with congenial company, Hester becomes more reconciled to her new life — and finds plenty of ways to occupy her time, including assisting several young lovers. Little does she realize, of course, that one of the men she meets is interested in her!
When I want a light, charming comfort read, D.E. Stevenson always fits the bill, and this book is no exception. It’s an interesting mixture of slice-of-life with comedy of manners, as Hester can’t help poking fun at some of her less congenial acquaintances. I thoroughly enjoyed her narrative voice and found her a very likeable character. The biggest flaw in the book, in my opinion, is her husband Tim. He’s not “on page” terribly often, and while it’s obvious that Hester loves him very much, she also can’t help noticing his little foibles. So I was a bit lukewarm on their relationship, especially when Hester’s other suitor, Major Morley, is so much more interesting! Morley actually plays a fairly large role in the book, as he is Tim’s fellow officer and ends up visiting Hester’s hostess in the Scottish countryside. He has an air of cynicism but is also quite sweet to Hester, and I couldn’t help wishing that she was single (and less oblivious) so that they could get together! But aside from that, I enjoyed the book and would be interested in reading the sequels, though I think they might be out of print now.